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Daily Headlines for August 1, 2013

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

STATE COVERAGE

CALIFORNIA

New charter school opens at New Millennium site in Fresno
Fresno Bee, July 31, 2013
Just months after New Millennium Institute of Education was denied its charter renewal by both Fresno Unified School District trustees and county officials, a new education program called Charter Academy is moving into the old school’s building.

West Contra Costa teachers union head opposes charter school proposal
Contra Costa Times, July 31, 2013
The head of the West Contra Costa school district’s teachers union announced her opposition to a proposed campus of Silicon Valley-based Summit Public Schools at the district’s board meeting July 24.

Vouchers: My personal case
Manteca Bulletin, August 1, 2013
Each morning, she explained, a school bus would pick up the APEX students — by definition a group of supposedly “high-level, college-bound kids” — and bus them to their chosen school. We would attend two classes each morning at the APEX school, after which we would be bused back to Crenshaw.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

The Chosen Charter
Washington City Paper, August 1, 2013
At Sela Public Charter School, the newest idea in D.C. education—Hebrew—is three millennia old.

FLORIDA

A is for ABC: Charter school bucks state trend
Apalachicola Times, July 31, 2013
The Apalachicola Bay Charter School swam against the statewide current last week, as it posted its second consecutive A grade, and fourth in the last five years.

Lake Wales High School May Have Waiting List for Locals
The Ledger, July 31, 2013
Lake Wales High School may have to put some local students on a waiting list.

Flagler schools plan radio ads to reach families
Daytona Beach News-Journal, August 1, 2013
An increasingly competitive market is one reason school leaders are sharpening their pitch for potential customers.

Democrats Won’t Hear Tony Bennett’s Grade-Change Explanation, Call for Resignation
Sunshine State News, August 1, 2013
Despite Tony Bennett’s explanation and flat denial of wrongdoing, Democrats have jumped on an opportunity to bash the commissioner of education in the wake of recent reports of a grade change which took a GOP donor-created school from a “C” to an “A.”

Bennett’s troubling test score
Tampa Tribune, August 1, 2013
Democrats and teachers’ unions are gleeful about the revelation that Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett, while overseeing schools in Indiana, changed the grade of a charter school owned by a political supporter.

GEORGIA

$10M in limbo over teacher pay based on merit
Gainesville Times, August 1, 2013
Georgia could lose out on $9.9 million in Race to the Top grant money if it doesn’t implement merit-based pay for teachers by September 2015.

ILLINOIS

Hits to classroom exceed CPS estimates
Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2013
When Chicago Public Schools released its preliminary budget last week, district officials said funding to classrooms would be cut by $68 million.

State: Pingree Grove charter school must clarify fees
Chicago Daily Herald, July 31, 2013
State officials have told Pingree Grove charter school leaders to make clear the membership fees they outline in an agreement with parents are voluntary. If the fees were mandatory — like some parents have been led to believe — Cambridge Lakes Charter School would be violating state law.

Judge denies request to keep 10 Chicago schools open
Chicago Sun Times, July 31, 2013
Another legal hurdle to closing a historic number of schools fell Wednesday as a Cook County judge denied a request by parents to keep open 10 of the 50 shuttered Chicago public elementary schools.

INDIANA

Pence lends support for student evaluation tests
Journal Gazette, August 1, 2013
Gov. Mike Pence talked about doing things “the Indiana way” during his first town-hall meeting as the state’s chief executive.

LOUISIANA

Lafayette parents tout online tool
The Advocate, August 1, 2013
Parents have a little extra help staying abreast of the latest Lafayette Parish School Board issues and what’s happening in the district: other parents.

$3 million gift will aid New Orleans teaching ranks
The Advocate, August 1, 2013
Teach for America, which trains high-achieving college graduates to enter troubled public school classrooms, is getting a $3 million donation to add 510 teachers in the New Orleans area, officials announced Wednesday.

OHIO

Ohio legislators try to repeal Common Core school standards
Columbus Dispatch, August 1, 2013
Just weeks before Ohio children return to school, conservative lawmakers introduced a last-minute bill yesterday to block new and more-rigorous curriculum guidelines championed by governors and education leaders.

OKLAHOMA

Common core big picture becoming fuzzier as implementation nears
The Oklahoman, August 1, 2013
The closer Oklahoma and other states inch toward fully implementing the full vision of common core academic standards for public schools, the less clear the big picture becomes.

NEBRASKA

Charter School with Autism Focus Closer to Reality
KAALTV, July 31, 2013
It’s an idea that came from the parents of students with autism, a school specialized to meet the needs of their children. It’s called Rochester Beacon Academy, and it’s one step closer to becoming a reality. The group has already formed an 88 page charter and it’s been approved by their authorizer.

MASSACHUSETTS

Charter school reports progress
Salem News, August 1, 2013
After a bumpy start, the Salem Community Charter School, a public school for high school dropouts, is making steady progress, charter school officials said last night.

Lift the cap on charter schools
Bay State Banner, July 31, 2013
School bells will soon be ringing and parents will once again be concerned with the quality of education for their children. This is not a problem for the affluent, who can afford the expense of private schools, but for others the choice is limited.

MICHIGAN

Warren school district tries out year-round program
Detroit News, August 1, 2013
The fourth-grader is participating in a new year-round school program being implemented at three elementary schools in the Warren Consolidated Schools District. The district is the first in Macomb County to convert public schools to year-round classes.

MINNESOTA

Minnesota School of Science loses in court: Out of Cityview
Twin City Daily Planet, July 31, 2013
A Hennepin County Court today upheld Minneapolis Public Schools’ decision to evict Minnesota School of Science (MSS), denying the charter school a restraining order that would have allowed it to continue operating out of the North Minneapolis Cityview building.

MISSOURI

In Missouri, Race Complicates a Transfer to Better Schools
New York Times, August 1, 2013
When the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a law in June allowing students from failing school districts to transfer to good ones, Harriett Gladney saw a path to a better education for her 9-year-old daughter.

Heed lessons from the Gordon Parks case
Kansas City Star, July 31, 2013
The troubled saga of Gordon Parks Elementary, a small charter school in Kansas City, holds big lessons for improving public education.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Haley: Fixing schools means ‘tough conversation’ about rural-wealthy inequity
The State, July 31, 2013
Gov. Nikki Haley met privately with about a dozen business and legislative leaders Wednesday to discuss her forthcoming education reform proposal.

TENNESSEE

Common Core critics call for timeout on tougher standards
The Tennessean, August 1, 2013
As the one-year countdown to Common Core state education standards begins today with the first day of school for many systems, Tennessee educators are fending off pleas to stop the clock for a timeout.

VIRGINA

Middle school leaders diagnose education problems
Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 1, 2013
A summit held Wednesday sought to unite area middle school leaders in their efforts to improve early adolescent education.

WISCONSIN

Nearly 50 private schools seek to join Wisconsin’s voucher program
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 31, 2013
From Rhinelander to Green Bay to Beloit, almost 50 private and religious schools and school systems have registered to join a new statewide voucher program that would allow them to educate students on taxpayer dollars this fall.

ONLINE LEARNING

One computer plus one student equals FG schools’ new program
Muskogee Phoenix, August 1, 2013
Fort Gibson Public Schools is launching its One-to-One digital device program this year. Under the program, each student — from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade — will have access to a computer, either a student’s personal laptop or tablet or one from the district that the student can check out.

District will provide iPads for all K-8 students
KUSA-TV, July 31, 2013
We have all heard of stories of entire schools providing iPads for students to use in class. But, Englewood Public Schools has a bigger idea to give every student in every classroom in every school a digital edge.